Health: Gardening Can Cause Parkinson's Disease

Society | May 27, 2005, Friday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0

Gardeners should wear protective clothing when using pesticides to guard against getting Parkinson's disease in later life, leading scientists warn.

Professor Anthony Seaton and a team of researchers at Aberdeen University found gardeners who used weedkillers and other chemicals have an increased risk of developing the incurable, severely debilitating brain disease.

They studied nearly 3,000 people in five European countries and found that gardeners had a 9% greater risk of contracting Parkinson's than people who had not come into contact with pesticides. Farmers were 43% more likely to get the disease.

Those with a family history of Parkinson's were 350% more likely to get it, and being knocked out was another significant risk factor. Being rendered unconscious just once increased the risk by 32%, while repeated incidents saw a 174% rise.

The disease is caused by a lack of chemicals in the brain; the actor Michael J Fox and Muhammad Ali, the legendary boxer, are two high-profile sufferers.

Symptoms include trembling, stiffness, loss of facial expression, poor co-ordination and balance, and problems moving - after many years some patients become physically incapable. About half develop dementia.
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